AK Monthly Recap: December 2014

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Kate in Ogunquit

It’s the last monthly recap of the year! December 2014 took me to three countries and a few of the world’s most iconic cities.

Because I’ve been doing lots of recapping to celebrate the end of the year and you’ve already heard many of these stories already, I’ll keep this one brief.

Woman in Sri Lanka

Destinations Visited

Hikkaduwa and Colombo, Sri Lanka

London, UK

Reading and Lynn, Massachusetts

Washington, DC

New York, NY

Wells, Ogunquit, and York, Maine

Favorite Destination

NEW YORK! I can’t believe how much my love for the city grows and grows!

Strand Bookstore

Highlights

Visiting the White House and taking part in the first-ever Travel Blogger Summit, which I’ve talked about again and again, was obviously the big highlight. As was the huge surprise of being gifted business class tickets to Istanbul from Turkish Airlines!

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Colombo the second time around. Colombo doesn’t get a lot of love, but I had a few local friends who took a few of us out to sample Sri Lankan street food and nightlife, and there’s no better way to get to know a city!

I had so much fun in New York, I stayed a full two weeks and saw different groups of friends almost every day. It’s insane how every single time I visit, I have a better time than my last visit! How can it keep getting so much better? This really makes me feel like I should move to New York, and I hope to do so in late 2015 or 2016.

I celebrated both Christmas and New Year’s in low-key fashion at home with my family, and it was nice to be home for the holidays for the first time in two years.

A little day trip up to my beloved Maine Diner and a few coastal towns with friends old and new was the perfect way to round out the month.

London

Challenges

My wallet got stolen while getting off the train in Colombo. I wrote about it in this post and the most important thing is that I was prepared. I had a backup credit card and cash hidden in my main luggage; I didn’t have much money in my wallet to begin with. It could have been so much worse.

Additionally, my trip to London was primarily to pick up my remaining belongings from my former fiancé’s place. I managed it, but it wasn’t easy. The moment I stepped into that apartment, I felt like the air was clawing at my skin. I got in and out as fast as I could.

Daddy and Daughter in Sri Lanka

Most Popular Post

My Worst Travel Moments of 2014 — I love my annual tradition of sharing my worst moments on the road, as do you! I also revealed a lot in this post that I hadn’t shared yet.

Other Posts

The Lessons My Friends Taught Me in 2014 — I only made it through 2014 intact because of my friends.

An Epic Stay at New York’s Hippest Hotel — I LOVED my three-day stay at the Ace. Such a cool hotel.

Visiting the White House During Christmas — The decorations! You should try to visit during Christmas at least once!

My Best Travel Moments of 2014 — From skinny-dipping in Finland to sunset-watching in the Philippines.

Sri Lanka, What Took Me So Long? — An overview post of why I loved Sri Lanka so much.

My Favorite New Destinations of 2014 — My favorite new global discoveries of 2014. Finland leads the list.

Heading to NYC for an Epic Adventure with Booking — A preview of my trip to New York.

adventurouskate on Snapchat

News and Announcements

I’ve joined Snapchat! You can follow me at adventurouskate. I joined a few months ago, but only in the past week did I go from not understanding it to being completely obsessed. OMG, Snapchat is so much fun! I loved seeing all of your videos from New Year’s Eve around the world!

And as always — if you’ve always wanted to try Airbnb, get $25 off your first stay with this link.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

Who can resist the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center?

For more photo updates, both in real time and from the past, follow adventurouskate on Instagram.

Arenal, Costa Rica

Photo: Marc Cappelletti

Coming Up in January 2015

I have a few more weeks at home, then I’m heading back to New York — I’ll be speaking at the New York Times Travel Show on a panel led by the U.S. State Department! If you’re in town, I’d love to see you there. I’ll be speaking on the 25th.

On January 27, I fly to a new country: Costa Rica! You’ll see more on my upcoming Central American adventure in a few days.

Any suggestions for Costa Rica? Let me know!

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35 thoughts on “AK Monthly Recap: December 2014”

  1. I’m a bit jealous you made it to Maine, as much as I travel its still be favorite place in the world. Whenever I find myself home again I might celebrate with a road trip up the coast. I love that you share your worst moments! Its good to be transparent about things I think

  2. I stayed in the tiny town of Bagaces in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica for 2 months. Not too far from there is the town of Liberia, where I had the BEST tacos of my entire life. It has no name — just a tiny house with “Tacos” painted on the side. This was a few years ago so it might not even still be there, but if it is and you can find it, GO. Here’s he post: http://www.domestiphobia.net/2010/10/25/mi-taco-es-su-taco/

    Costa Rica isn’t exactly known for stellar food (the tacos were made by a Mexican expat), but you should also try patacones (fried plantains with frijoles molidos — refried black beans — and salty cheese), and Salsa Lizano, a condiment you’ll likely see on every Costa Rican table. As far as activities, of course they have zip lining, but you might instead want to consider waterfall rappelling (I did that in La Fortuna), and if you’re willing to get absolutely filthy, go hang with the monkeys at the refuge at Congo Trail in Artola.

    It’s a beautiful country and I only saw a fraction. Have fun!!

  3. Ooh, Central America! I head to Costa Rica on Wednesday and will spend 2015 in Central America. I’d love to say hi if our paths cross!

  4. Hey Kate,

    Which panel will you be speaking in at the New York Time’s Travel Expo? I don’t want to miss you speak and your name isn’t listed in the speaker schedule.

  5. Don’t miss Manuel Antonio in CR! Some of the best beaches in the world (in my humble opinion). Arenal Volcano is also pretty cool–worth a hike! Have fun, Costa Rica is great!

  6. I agree that Costa Rica isn’t really know for their food, most of the food I had there was forgettable, although breakfast was usually pretty decent (pinto gallo and eggs). The best Costa Rican type food we had was at a the treehouse restaurant in Monteverde.

    Definitely go ziplining, it’s one of the classic to-do’s there. I went in Arenal and it was great, although we heard that the course in Monteverde was better (but Monteverde has more natural beauty to explore, while Arenal is much more touristy day trip packages). The way to get from Monteverde to Arenal, or vice versa, is by the jeep-boat-jeep (or horse-boat-jeep), definitely better than taking the public busses around the long way! And at both places it was quite chilly, at least at night, in January, so unless you’re exclusively sticking to the beaches, make sure to bring at least a few warm items.

    We found it fairly easy to get around on public transit in Montezuma (lovely little beach town!) and Monteverde, but not so much in Arenal (or Rincon de la Vieja, which was neat but I’d skip it unless you have a car and can hit it on the way to somewhere else). If you’re on the Nicoya Peninsula, Bahia Rica in Paquera would be great to hit for guided kayaking and other water sports, and is a lovely place to stay as well.

    Also, if you’re flying to Liberia, make sure to eat before you get the airport, the food prices there are insane!

  7. Girl, you need to drive another 45 minutes north to Portland! I’m jealous you’re heading to Costa Rica while the rest of us are freezing this winter. Definitely go zip-lining. Personally I preferred Nicaragua over Costa Rica, but I’m sure you will have a blast! The local beer is good!

  8. Coasta Rica has a special place in my heart because it was the first place outside the U.S. that I went (without parents)! However, I have to admit, I enjoyed Nicaragua more, probably because I felt better able to interact with the locals. If you like hiking, there are great volcanos and also, the oso peninsula has an amazing couple day jungle trek.

  9. I had a friend whose wallet was stolen as well. Unfortunately he didn’t have any backup card. He borrowed money from fellow travelers, had to ask a hostel owner to let him stay for free until he got a western union transfer from friends. It all worked out for him, but he spent a few days with only bread to eat all day.

      1. Couldn’t agree more Kate, I always kept my cash and cards spread out through my stuff, so that hopefully I could always have a backup. Although when you’re moving locations you have to bring everything, so I always hope that nothing happens while I’m relocating.

  10. If you have the time, consider staying at La Carolina Lodge! It’s out of the way and a bit pricey (I drove, which I think is easiest) but it was the highlight of my 6 weeks in Costa Rica. No electricity at night, everything lit by candlelight, an amazing little cottage by the river, wood fire hot tub next to the river, horseback riding on the grounds, baby goats… Ugh take me back! http://www.cms.lacarolinalodge.com

    I also loved Playa Potrero, where I stayed, and the area surrounding it. It was a very small town when I was there, with amazing beaches with hardly any people. I’m not sure how it is now since it’s been a few years, but I adored it. Have so much fun!!!

  11. Hi Kate,

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and I really enjoy reading your posts! You (among a few other female travelers) inspired me to take my first solo trip to Spain in September 2014. I had a great time!

    I’m actually traveling to Costa Rica this winter, too. I’m going there early February (I’m going to Panama first). I’m looking forward to reading your posts about Costa Rica!

          1. Good idea to check out different kinds of places if you’re only staying a little while. I’m staying 2,5 – 3 weeks. I haven’t figured out exactly where I’m going, but Monteverde and Arenal are definitely on my list!

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